The stats are startling: where you live in the US may increase your susceptibility of developing Parkinson’s disease. Results from a recent study have revealed that Parkinson’s is more prevalent in individuals who reside in the Midwest and the Northeast, with environmental factors a likely common cause. But don’t consider a new ZIP code just yet. There is a silver lining: if you or someone near and dear to you has been diagnosed with a movement disorder, the TRX may assist in your rehabilitation process. Here, Dr. Perkash addresses a question from Dale, a TRX Community member with Parkinson’s disease who wants to incorporate the TRX into his training protocol.
I have Parkinson’s disease, and in January of this year, I had deep brain surgery at UCSF’s Medical Center. I am 55 years old and served for over 16 years as a federal special agent as a tactical athlete. You name the task force, and I’ve been detailed to it, from the Lower Manhattan FBI/NYPD Command Post (Ground Zero) to San Francisco’s Multi-Agency Russian Organized Gang Task Force. With that all said and done, I wanted to inquire as to your vision of a workout routine using TRX for someone who has a movement disorder.
Patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease cover a wide spectrum in terms of functioning and limitations. Patients with mild or early Parkinson’s may have virtually no limitations, while those who are severely afflicted may have significant limitations and require substantial assistance with their activities of daily living (ADLs).
Some patients like you are eligible for procedures such as deep brain surgery to try to improve mobility and functioning. Others may receive some benefit from medications and physical therapy, including assistive devices such as canes, walkers or wheelchairs. Most patients do benefit, to one degree or another, from some type of muscular re-education program including gait/balance training and endurance exercises for general well being and improved functioning.
Depending upon the degree of limitations, training and motivation, most patients can improve their functioning by participating in a rehabilitation program to maximize function. Typically, patients attend formal rehabilitation through a physical therapist for a specified period of time in order to learn an independent or family-assisted home/gym exercise program they will do daily or at least several times per week to maximize their performance in ADLs, including walking, bathing, grooming, eating and other activities. The nature of this type of exercise program varies depending upon the person’s condition, limitations, prognosis and other medical conditions.
It is imperative to work with a physician and physical therapist to develop an individually tailored home exercise program, which should be performed regularly to maximize function. The TRX is currently being used for a variety of purposes to improve gait, balance, strength and endurance in individuals with movement disorders. A specific TRX exercise program should be initiated under medical supervision with a physical therapist and can be encouraged subsequently by a knowledgeable trainer or training partner.
I would encourage you to pursue your rehabilitation goals with your physician and physical therapist. Many therapists are using the TRX as an active part of their rehabilitation program. Indeed, techniques for rehabilitation using the TRX are being refined and adapted for multiple medical conditions and will likely continue to be even more useful in the future as their applications expand over time.
Have a question, email the TRX Doctor? For more on how TRX Suspension Training bodyweight exercise is a safe, scalable and effective solution for you or your patients, visit our Sports Medicine page.
NOTE: Any medical information in this blog is of a general nature and not a substitute for the advice of a medical professional. If you need medical advice, see a doctor.